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Chapter

Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

5. Intention to Create Legal Relations  

M P Furmston

This chapter, which examines the requirements of intention to create legal relations, discusses its application to domestic agreements such as agreements between husband and wife and commercial agreements.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

6. Intention to create legal relations  

This chapter considers the final element of the formation of the contract: the intention to create legal relations. There is generally no difficulty in finding this requirement is fulfilled in commercial cases, but such intention is generally assumed to be absent in domestic or social agreements. The parties’ intentions may usually reflect these assumptions, but the issue of underlying policy is addressed. In commercial situations, issues of ‘intention to create legal relations’ are more likely to arise in relation to a clause which it is claimed is intended to show that there was no such intention in relation to the particular agreement.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

3. Certainty and the intention to create legal relations  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter discusses certainty and the intention to create legal relations. It first considers cases where the parties have used ambiguous or unclear language. It then looks at cases where the parties have deliberately left terms to be agreed at a later date. In the former cases, the agreement is often described as ‘vague’; in the latter cases it is described as ‘incomplete’. The chapter then turns to domestic agreements, commercial agreements, and executory and executed agreements.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

3. Certainty and the intention to create legal relations  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter discusses certainty and the intention to create legal relations. It first considers cases where the parties have used ambiguous or unclear language. It then looks at cases where the parties have deliberately left terms to be agreed at a later date. In the former cases, the agreement is often described as ‘vague’; in the latter cases it is described as ‘incomplete’. The chapter then turns to domestic agreements, commercial agreements, and executory and executed agreements.

Chapter

Cover Complete Contract Law

4. Certainty and the Intention to Enter a Legal Relationship  

This chapter investigates the basic law on the certainty and intention requirements in the creation of an agreement. To be legally enforceable as a contract, the agreement must be sufficiently certain and show an intention to enter a legal relationship. Agreements can be uncertain because they are vague, or because they are incomplete. This can indicate there was no intention to enter a legal relationship. The courts must not rewrite the agreement; they must simply interpret it. If an agreement is incomplete, the courts may decide that the missing terms are implied, and this is more likely if there has been performance. A gap in an incomplete agreement can be filled if the parties have provided a mechanism for doing so, or if the terms can be construed so as to do so. The chapter then differentiates between an agreement to negotiate (a lock-in agreement) and agreements not to negotiate with other parties (lock-out agreements). Agreements between businesses are presumed to be made with the intention to be legally binding, but the facts, the interpretation of the terms, or the surrounding circumstances could mean there was no such intention.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

7. Intention to Create Legal Relations  

An essential ingredient of a binding contract is that the parties must have had an intention to create legal relations. In other words, they must have had an intention to be bound by the terms of their agreement. This chapter, which examines the doctrine of intention to create legal relations, begins by considering cases involving domestic and social agreements before turning to analyse the role of intention to create legal relations in the commercial environment. The chapter also covers the role of presumptions in relation to proof of the existence of an intention to create legal relations and the relationship between the doctrine of intention to create legal relations and consideration.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter deals with intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract. In order to enforce any promise not contained in a deed, there must be an intention to create legal relations. This intention is traditionally determined using different presumptions for domestic and commercial agreements. In the case of domestic and social agreements, there is a presumption that there is no intention to create legal relations. In contrast, there is a presumption of an intention to create legal relations in commercial agreements. Both presumptions are capable of being rebutted on the facts, e.g. an honour clause in a commercial contract. The second part of this chapter examines capacity to contract and particularly the enforceability of contracts made by minors.

Chapter

Cover Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law

11. Vertical Agreements  

This chapter, which discusses EU competition policy towards vertical agreements, begins by outlining the choices available to a supplier when deciding how best to market and sell its products or services to customers, and the impact that the competition rules may have on a supplier's choice, including the treatment of agency agreements. It then discusses the EU approach to vertical agreements, in the light of the Commission’s Verticals Guidelines of 2010, including exclusive dealing, single branding, franchising andselective distribution agreements, and the review of the 2010 regime. It considers the importance in EU law of parallel trade between Member States and how this has influenced policy towards vertical restraints. It analyses the application of Article 101(1) and Article 101(3) to vertical agreements, including the Verticals block exemption of 2010; sub-contracting agreements; and the possible application of Article 102 to distribution agreements.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Business Law

5. Intention, Capacity, Consideration, and Privity  

This chapter examines issues relating to contract formation. It discusses the elements of an intention to create legal relations and the presumptions relating to commercial or business agreements and domestic agreements. It considers the law relating to capacity to contract, looking at the enforceability of different types of contracts made with minors. It considers the validity of contracts made with corporations and persons who may lack capacity through mental illness or intoxication. It also explains the importance of consideration in a contract, what constitutes consideration, whether consideration provided is sufficient, and who must provide the consideration. It discusses the law relating to part-payment of debts and promissory estoppel. Finally, the chapter considers the doctrine of privity of contract, and the exceptions to the doctrine, including the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter deals with intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract. In order to enforce any promise not contained in a deed, there must be an intention to create legal relations. This intention is traditionally determined using different presumptions for domestic and commercial agreements. In the case of domestic and social agreements, there is a presumption that there is no intention to create legal relations. In contrast, there is a presumption of an intention to create legal relations in commercial agreements. Both presumptions are capable of being rebutted on the facts, e.g. an honour clause in a commercial contract. The second part of this chapter examines capacity to contract and particularly the enforceability of contracts made by minors.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

4. Contracts and informal relations  

The intention to create legal relations

This chapter focuses on the requirement that the parties to a contract must have the intention to create legal relations for it to become legally binding. It considers how we decide whether the parties to a particular agreement had the intention to enter into legal relations, showing that English law operates by means of rebuttable presumptions. It then examines cases where the presumption is that the parties did not intend to create legal relations—that they intended their transaction to be merely friendly or social, rather than legal. It also discusses commercial transactions, where the presumption is reversed, and more specifically the types of commercial transactions that are structured to place them outside the bounds of legal enforcement. The chapter includes the case of Balfour v Balfour [1919] 2 KB 571 (CA).

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. This chapter examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

15. Remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. Equitable remedies that provide for specific relief refer to remedies for breach of contract which compel actual performance, rather than simply compensating for loss caused by breach. Compulsion of performance may take the form of claiming an agreed sum, a claim seeking specific performance, or a claim seeking an injunction. The claim or action for an agreed sum gives effect to the claimant’s performance interest by ordering the party in breach to pay the liquidated sum (debt), his agreed performance under the contract. The chapter examines the remedy of specific performance as a court order that compels actual performance of agreed obligations (other than payment of the price). As an equitable remedy it is available at the discretion of the court, but only when damages would be an inadequate remedy. This chapter also examines remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies, the latter of which refer to recovery based on failure of consideration and quantum meruit. Finally, the chapter examines the availability of specific compensatory remedies in instances where there is no financial loss, namely the exceptional remedy of an account of profit or the remedy of ‘negotiating damages’—and their relationship.